Political beliefs don’t make me abnormal. Nor does living in a small, conservation town. Nor does my faith.
What society has deemed abnormal is the love I share with my partner, the blended family we now have and the fact that we are a Christian family.
I look to my faith in God to help me understand why society is the way they are.
I try to ignore the haters in the world, who try to tell me how to live my life. I ignore them to make a better life for my partner and I.
This also makes me abnormal in the eyes of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) community.
There are people who do not believe a Christian can be gay. There are people who think there’s no way any religion can be friendly or welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community.
My last experience in a church was the church I was raised in. This church was a very conservative First Assembly of God Church. When they found out I was gay, certain congregation members disowned me.
They told me that I was unfaithful to the word of God.
I was no longer welcome in the church.
A lead member of the congregation told me that if I were to continue my stay at the church that I would be called out and humiliated by the church to get me to leave, during a Youth Group worship.
I was at a loss for words. I swore off organized religion for several years.
Then I met my partner at a LGBTQ+ community center and we began our life together in January. He was attending a church with a friend. One Sunday he invited me.
I came to the First Congregational Church of Stockton apprehensively.
But the pastor, cabinet, staff and members all welcomed my partner and I openly.
I finally felt safe in a church. I am now actively involved: attending events, helping with the website and putting my enthusiasm for journalism to work in a religious setting.
I am a happy member of the church. I can see myself growing spiritually there.
At one point organized religion was taboo for me. I no longer believe that. I found a home and this house is strong and welcoming.
And I was welcomed in with open arms — no matter my sexual preference.